The World Watch List is an annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution. It’s a unique, in-depth record of the places where Christians are following Jesus no matter the cost. The data for the World Watch List 2020 covers period 1 November 2018 to 31 October 2019.
Open Doors understands persecution as 'any hostility experienced as a result of one's identification with Christ’. But measuring persecution is a complex task, and measuring faith-based persecution is even more complex. In many countries, persecution is multidimensional – gender and ethnicity will also play a role, for instance.
To create a comprehensive list, the World Watch Research Unit works closely with researchers in the field to collect survey data and secondary data in the following six areas:
Each of these areas is scored, and each of the 150 countries assessed is then given a score out of a hundred for the severity of persecution. A score of 81-100 equates to ‘extreme’ persecution; 61-80 is ‘very high’ and 41-60 is ‘high’.
Research methods and results have been independently audited by the International Institute for Religious Freedom (IIRF).